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ARCA standout Stenhouse to debut at Nashville

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished fourth in the 2008 ARCA standings, makes his Nationwide Series debut Saturday in the Nashville 300 at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished fourth in the 2008 ARCA standings, makes his Nationwide Series debut Saturday in the Nashville 300 at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.

Stenhouse won't be jumping into just any car, either. Stenhouse drives for Jack Roush and will be in the No. 16, which is fifth in owner points. Greg Biffle took it to victory lane at Las Vegas in February, and it has three other finishes in the top 10.

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend," said Stenhouse, 21, who is scheduled to make seven starts this season. "I've been hanging out with the guys at the shop, and everyone has been great.  With the way these cars have been running this year I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be in the top 10 on Saturday."

Stenhouse will be driving one of three Roush Fenway Racing cars Saturday, joining Carl Edwards and David Ragan in the field. Edwards has three wins at Nashville and is the series points leader. David Ragan is third in points. All three drivers will be vying to get Roush his 100th win in the Nationwide Series.

Stenhouse is also scheduled to make starts at Kentucky, Milwaukee, Gateway, Iowa and Memphis along with a second start at Nashville.

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"Ricky is a very talented driver--there's no doubt about that," said his crew chief, Eddie Pardue.  "He doesn't have a lot of stock car experience, but you'd never guess that after talking to him.  He's very smart but very willing to learn at the same time.  We're all excited to have him in the car.  He has a great attitude, and if his ARCA record is any indication, we should see some good finishes out of him this year."

Three to watch

Scott Wimmer, No. 40: Wimmer is the defending champion and has a terrific record at Nashville with eight top 10s in nine races. His only finish worse than eighth was when he crashed in April 2003 and finished 36th with a DNF.

Carl Edwards, No. 60: In seven races, Edwards has six top fives, including three wins. He has more wins at Nashville than at any other track. His average finish is 4.0.

Brad Keselowski, No. 88: Keselowski won the second race at Nashville last year to go with a fourth-place finish last spring. Keselowski finished third last week at Texas for his first top 10 of the season.

Track chatter

Justin Allgaier: "Nashville Superspeedway is a really cool place, but it is very challenging at the same time. There are long straightaways and tight corners, which makes it difficult for the drivers. It is tough to make the car handle well but carry speed into the corners at the same time."

Kyle Busch: "Concrete can be a little treacherous when there isn't a whole lot of rubber on the track, since it gets pretty slick. Once we get some rubber down on the track in practice, it gets a lot better. The first few years I ran at Nashville, the track was really slick. But then they ground on it and built some grip into the track where we can race well with each other there. It's a great place."

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Fast facts

What: Nashville 300

Where: Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway

When: Saturday, 3 p.m.

TV: ESPN, 2 p.m.

Radio: MRN/Sirius XM Satellite Ch. 128

Race distance: 225 laps / 300 miles

Track layout: 1.333-mile concrete oval

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2008 winner: Scott Wimmer

2008 polesitter: Kyle Busch

Points leaders: 1. Carl Edwards, 799; 2. Kyle Busch, 761; 3. David Ragan, 653; 4. Jason Leffler, 612; 5. Justin Allgaier, 600; 6. Kevin Harvick, 576; 7. Brad Keselowski, 568; 8. Brendan Gaughan, 564; 9. Jason Keller, 540; 10. Scott Lagasse Jr., 538.

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